Hellions of the Deep: The Development of American Torpedoes in World War II
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—Harvey M. Sapolsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
About the Author
Robert Gannon is Associate Professor of English at Penn State University. His articles have appeared in Popular Science, Reader's Digest, Science Digest, Science and Mechanics, Audubon, Oceans, and many other popular and specialized publications.
- Publisher : Penn State University Press (May 9, 1996)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 027101508X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0271015088
- Item Weight : 1.62 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.75 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,368,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The work covers the topic in a clear, easy to understand format delving in to the development of these weapons systems. It covers the technical developments without becoming so technical as to make the text difficult to read.
This book will make any reader aware of this story and the tecnology/development of a weapons system that is often mentioned but rarel explained in any depth.
Robert Gannon is an academic scholar, but has written a very readable book. Unfortunately, it is not the whole story of torpedoes during World War II. I came to realize this when researching my father's own contribution to Secret (Section T, National Defense Research Committee) research that began in 1943 with the final demise of the Mark 14 torpedo, which had a defective magnetic-influence component. By the end of 1943, this component of the Torpedo Exploder Mechanism was ordered turned off.
The same year, a contract was given to the Applied Research Laboratories at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington. My father began working on the project on 8/1/44 through the end of the war, helping to develop, test, and put into service the Mark 9 and Mark 10 torpedo exploder mechanisms, which were used in the Mark 13 air-to-surface TBM Avenger attack on the Japanese Yamoto, sinking it in early 1945. The behemoth battleship was the pride and prize of the Japanese fleet. The Mark 9 Torpedo Exploder Mechanism was designed to detonate under the ship's keel, bypassing the typically well armored sides of battleships of that era.
Hopefully, future histories will include the post-Admiral Lockwood developments in torpedo development in a more clarifying light. Until then, readers should consult The Submarine Review for more up-to-date research on the topic.
But torpedoes were vital to the US war effort - for almost 2 years, only US subs could really attack the Japanese, especially their vital supply lines. Yet the torpedoes were faulty in multiple ways.
But it has been difficult to find out anymore about this subject until the publication of Hellions of the Deep. This book takes an detailed look at the development of US torpedoes, which are much more complicated devices than most people realize. A typical torpedo in WWII had over 3,000 parts.
The writing is a tad dry, and a few names of people who 'helped develop' (read hindered) the troublesome torpedoes are withheld, which is why I wish I could give it 4.5 stars. But overall, a excellent, valuable book to students of WW II naval history.